Technical and Dyno Night at the TAFESA Regency Campus

Regency TAFE, (Greenway Architects) – SA

It has been a number of years since the Sprite Club has held a Technical Night, so approx. 30 members headed on Friday 29thMarch to the TAFESA Automotive Campus at Regency Park. Club President and TAFE Principal Lecturer Gordon Boyce and fellow Automotive Jamie Campbell had arranged a night that covered a number of specific technical topics that related to Sprites,Midgets and Clubmans.

After an overview of the TAFE Campus and the Automotive Program by Gordon, Jamie discussed the main issues with making power with any internal combustion engine, this particularly is the amount of air that can enter the engine, once mixed with fuel and ignited will produce power and torque. Jamie has spent many hours testing both air flow of various components (carbies, manifolds, air filters and cylinder heads) and how these affect the performance of the engine. The TAFE facilities have both engine and chassis dynamometers, for motorcycles, cars and trucks as well as a flow bench for testing individual components.

Jamie had been provided with a number of A-Series engine components (cylinder head, manifolds and carburettors) and these were tested on the Flow Bench. This device, a “high-tech vacuum cleaner” can measure the flow of air through a component in cubic feet per minute (CFM). Jamie started with a standard Bugeye cylinder head and measured an air flow of approx. 63 CFM for the inlet port. Jamie noted that this was one of the worst performing head he had bench tested, but understood that a design of over 60 years old would have been comparable with similar vehicles of the era.

Next was a twin SU carby manifold and this flowed approx. 120 CFM and a 1 ¼” SU (110 CFM) and 1 ½” SU (130 CFM) carbies produced more air flow than the head would allow, so a bigger carby will not always produce more power. As a comparison a DCOE 45mm Weber with 32mm chokes was tested and this flowed close to 200 CFM, which would be ideal for approx. 200 BHP! 

As a side note Kerry Fisher had brought along his newly ported Mk III Sprite head, which Jamie flowed at a later date and it flowed 108CFM, which is a great increase on the standard head, but would still work well with the standard twin SU 1 ¼” carbies.

These flow figures matches those from the very informative book, “Tuning BL’s A-Series Engine” by David Vizard. This book is well worth a read at it covers all areas of engine modification and shows flow bench testing of all components from air cleaners to mufflers and everything in between!

Overall this testing proved that most Spridgets can perform with the standard carbies and manifolds if the cylinder head is not modified. Add a modified head and camshaft, then then up to 80 to 100 BHP, the SU’s on a good manifold will be suitable, the Weber just looks cool and drinks more fuel!!

Then the attention turned to the Chassis Dyno and there were a few cars to be tested. First was President Gordon’s Bugeye (998cc, modified head and cam plus Weber carby). The chassis dyno has the capacity to record both power and torque curves, as well as fuel mixtures, r/min plus other data, so after each run the results can be analysed. After producing noise and lots of unburnt fuel smoke from the very rich mixtures from the Weber, 998cc outputted 35 BHP at 6200 R/min at the rear wheels.

As a comparison Russell Schmarr’s standard 1275cc MG Midget produced an impressive 31 BHP with a nice even power and torque curve and good fuel mixtures, showing that in standard form the A-Series can be economical and produces reasonable performance.

Chris Brine’s Bugeye Race Car was next. This vehicle shows what some engine development can do for performance, using a well modified Russell Engineering cylinder head and manifold. Check out Russell Engineering’s Web Site for more technical info and articles on A-Series cylinder heads, manifolds and air flow. Well worth a Google search:  At over 7000 R/min, a total of 85 BHP was being produced by Chris’s Sprite, with a very smooth and even torque curve, making this a great track and circuit vehicle.

Pat Miller’s 2 litre Toyota-powered Waler clubman produced a very loud exhaust note as the computer changed the cam timing at various rev ranges to produce an impressive Kilowatt output. Unfortunately there was not enough air flow through the radiator and the computer intervened to protect the motor by reducing performance and power – something a carby Sprite will not do, but most modern EFI vehicle have built into their software.

Finally Paul Doube’s 1600cc Toyota powered Kestrel Clubman produced the highest power of the night with the smoothest power and torque curve. This is mostly due to the technology invested into the engine design and the use of electronic fuel injection to control the fuel, so the engine will idle, accelerate and produce maximum power and be very drivable during each of these phases. The Spridgets coughed, spluttered and were not a smooth with their fuelling, but that is difference years of R & D can do for engine performance.

Our thanks also to TAFESA for allowing the Sprite Club to visit and use the dyno facilities. And special thanks to Jamie Campbell for his Technical Presentation, as his knowledge of air flow, performance and vehicle testing gave all present a chance to see how the flow bench and chassis dyno can, not only be used to measure performance, but also to ensure that the correct modifications can be made to produce the desired and usable performance from the humble A-Series engine. 

General Meeting Reminder!

6 May    General Meeting – Meeting starts at 8.00pm.

Fullarton Park Community Centre, 411 Fullarton Road, Fullarton Park.

Come along and find out what has been happening over the past month and what events are coming up. Library, regalia and tea and coffee also available.

MSCA Peter Hall 6 Hour relay

5 May    MSCA Peter Hall Memorial 6-Hour Regularity Relay – Mallala Motorsport Park

The Annual 6-Hour Regularity Relay attracts teams of cars from all MSCA Clubs, as well as interstate. There will be Victorian Sprite Club teams joining in as well.

Each Team is to provide some assistants to help the MSCA as well as helpers with each team. Come along and help out our Clubman and Sprite Club teams with various tasks – even for a few hours, as well as spectate this interesting Club and Teams Event.

A great opportunity to see up to 24 cars on the track at the same time competing for this prestigious trophy.

Event starts at 11.00am, Practice from 9.00am

For Sale


For Sale , The legendary Troy Ryan Austin Healey Sprite, on current SA Historic Road Registration SA 50505 (previously SA XLG 995) Racing Nos. 995 or 95.

This naturally aspirated BMC powered 1295cc Sprite driven by Troy , has been setting track records all over numerous Australian Circuits such as Winton and Mallala etc. and Hillclimbs for approx. 10 years, e.g. Mt Gambier Legend of the Lakes 58.52 in 2011, Collingrove 35.24 in 2016.

It recently has been fitted with a fresh engine and gearbox and presents and drives extremely well . I’ve admired the car , and pursued Troy to sell it for many years ,for my own Hillclimb competition pursuits , and last year he finally relented as he has many other projects taking up his time.

Unfortunately at my geriatric stage of life ,  this season I’ve developed a chronic spine problem and on Specialist’s advice I now need to sell the car.

I’ve fitted a normal windscreen to the car , still retaining the mini one, and the car comes with full history, many tens of thousands of $$ receipts , and a number of spares.

Asking $17,500 , Thanks , Peter Emes 0413 133 233 .      NB ,I’ll be overseas 23 May to 2 June.

For Sale – Mk 2 Sprite

It is with great sadness that I am looking at putting my sprite up for sale due to needing something more practical and family friendly.

It is likely better know at Pat K’s old Sprite and is a 63 Mk2 (Not a 2a which Pat thought was relevant?). Running really well, serviced/tuned every 6 months.

Has had some cosmetic work over the last couple of years such as a pain touch up, new badges and dash repair.

Pat mentioned to put it out to the club for their interest prior to car sales I’m assuming to try and keep it within the club? As there is another vehicle that I am hoping to secure pending the sale of the sprite I will need to get it up on car sales by Thursday at the latest so if it is possible to get it sent out to the club ASAP I can hold off until say Wednesday before looking at putting it on car sales.

Price: $10,500

Sports Car Cruise – Wrap

Despite threatening clouds 17 cars turned up for the final sports car cruise of the season. Unfortunately the convoy became scattered leaving the car park but everyone enjoyed a drive in the hills. Most appealing car trophy Garry Beaton’s tricked up BMW best patina, Gerard‘s Plymouth spl and much to his surprise Chris Mignone, Datsun coupe the youth appeal award. great to see strong support from Sprite and MX5 clubs also young people navigating. My niece Kelly Scott enjoyed co-piloting the Plymouth. Big thank you to all who attended.

Sports Car Cruise – REMINDER

Don’t forget Classic Sports car cruise this Saturday starting and finishing at K mart shopping centre on Glynburn rd Firle. Gathering from 4:30 pm for a 5:10 pm start. Duration of the run approximately 1 hour. Drivers with a spare seat may like to offer sedan drivers a ride. Route maps will be available on the afternoon. All Sprite club members and their families please let me know their choice of 1 the most appealing car and the car with the best patina straight after the run finishes. Any enquiries ph O4212897O6

Classic and vintage mclaren vale

If you’re not in the parade, you can still meet us at Paxtons

  • THE EASY CLUB from Willunga bringing their Smooth Sounds with a Rock & Roll Heart to entertain us all afternoon.
  • THE YIROS SHACK feeding us with delicious, healthy Greek style Chicken, Lamb, Combination & Vegetarian Yiros – served with salad in a pita style wrap or in a bowl., complemented with a variety of sauces.
  • DAL MARE COFFEE, a local McLaren Vale coffee caravan – you may have seen on the side of Victor Harbour Road – serving coffees throughout the afternoon.

At our Cellar Door we will have our PAXTON WINES available by the bottle or the glass, local beers, ciders, soft drinks and fruit juices to purchase along with a selection of local cheeses, almonds, antipasto meats & McLaren Vale olives to build your own platter.  Also Paxton Picnic Plumm stemless wine glasses to buy for $10.00 if you forget yours.

Oh, and to make the day even more fun we are going with the Vintage! Glamorous! Gatsby! Roaring Twenties 20s! Theme… so grab the gloves, feather boa, headbands or for the men the dress shirts, hats and suspenders and join us in dressing up in Glamorous 1920s style.

Please note that this event is strictly NO BYO Alcohol.

We will see you on Sunday!

Catering for Austin Healey Sprite and MG Midget Enthusiasts